(WSVN) – Finding an apartment to rent in South Florida right now is difficult. A woman thought she had found the right place for her until she tried the key. Karen Hensel has the 7 inquiries tonight.
There may be rental signs everywhere, but getting the keys to move in can be a challenge.
Alejandra, victim of rental scam: “I was looking to move …”
Alejandra, who asked that we just use her first name, thought she had found the perfect spot thanks to a Facebook Marketplace post, but the tiny Miami Beach studio became a big deal.
Alejandra: “It’s horrible. I don’t know how many people this guy did this to.
In June, Alejandra organized a tour of this apartment with a man she believed to be the property manager.
Alejandra: “He opened the safe and took out the keys, and he showed me the apartment. “
Excited, she even called her parents.
Alejandra: “I filmed with my parents to show them where I was going to live. I was not worried.
Alejandra says she signed a lease and paid $ 2,100 in cash to cover the deposit and the first month’s rent and was ready to move in, but the key she received didn’t work, and the man who gave it to her is now giving her treatment silence.
Alejandra: “I told myself that I was going to give it until Monday because it was the weekend. I started calling him and he didn’t answer.
Turns out he wasn’t the property manager, but rather a cash-in-hand con man.
He had this fake business ad with a picture of the building showing up as a property manager, and he wasn’t working on this scam alone.
Natalia Pelaez, owner of the apartment: “I don’t think this is the first time they’ve done it because they’ve done it so easily, so cleverly. They entered the property. They showed the property to different people.
Natalia Pelaez is the owner of the apartment. She had already rented it to someone when Alejandra thought she was moving in, and it turns out that Alejandra wasn’t the only victim.
Natalia Pelaez: “One of the victims was passing by and said ‘Oh, great, you’re doing repairs. I’ll move in tomorrow. My husband said, “No, we’ve already rented it to someone else,” and that’s how we found the first victim. “
Then two other people introduced themselves as tenants, including this man with suitcases in his hand.
Natalia Pelaez: “The young man was the last money he had saved. He had nowhere to go. He left with his two suitcases and basically stood on the street saying, “Where do I go from here? “”
What’s unique about this scam is that it didn’t just happen online. The crooks were more daring than that. They were here in person showing the same apartment to three victims that we know of so far. All three have filed police reports with Miami Beach Police, who are currently investigating.
Natalia Pelaez: “We feel awful and responsible to a certain extent, but we don’t know how to help them other than providing them with all the information possible, helping the police.
Alejandra is worried because the rental scammer now has her personal information.
Alejandra: “I’m scared. This man has all my information. He knows where I live because he has my address. It has my license plate number. He knows where I work.
And now she has to start saving again to find a new apartment.
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